One hundred twenty years ago today, May 27, 1894, Samuel Dashiell Hammett eased out onto the Mean Streets, and after awhile slipped on his gumshoes, spent a few years bouncing around as a Pinkerton’s op before another few years knocking out stories like Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon, and the rest is history — and some mighty good reading.
For a birthday tribute I was thinking about doing my planned essay on Red Harvest, but one thing and another distracted me. (Maybe I can get it done in time for Xmas. . . .)
Which doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be party-time today here at Up and Down These, because our regular Guest Blogger Terry Zobeck has popped in some material to mark the occasion — pictures, reviews, even a final count of Hammett’s literary output. After 120 years, it looks like the numbers are in.
(The pic above of Detective Fiction Weekly from October 19, 1929 comes from Terry’s private collection — this is the issue containing one of Hammett’s worst stories. Most of his product was far superior, or else we wouldn’t be celebrating the birthday.)